A Dalmatian owned me once. Her name was Wishful Serendipity.

This is not her picture. We belonged to each other before the wonder of digital cameras. It is close. She had fewer spots and her ears were white, but I remember that look.

Sera was deaf. She was a rescue. But she was also a Dalmatian, so I had some challenges in keeping her contained.

TT: I’d like to take this moment to warn all prospective pure breed dog owners to research the breed traits before adopting such a companion. Had I known what I was in for, I might have chosen differently. Then again, I might not.

Dalmatians have no problem jumping fences. Sera showed every inclination to take ours at the first opportunity.

We bought a shock collar. I tested it on myself first, and yes, it hurt. The concept is you set up little charges in a closed loop, and when the collar with the shock box gets within “x” number of feet of those little charges, the collar beeps. If the dog keeps going, the collar shocks the dog. The dog learns not to go in the direction of the beeping.

It’s a great idea. Except the collar malfunctioned.

I put it on Sera and before she could go anywhere, it shocked her. She dropped to the deck. I got the collar off. She asked why I had done such a horrible thing to her. I apologized. We tried again.

She hit the deck.

The collar hadn’t gone off, but she wasn’t taking any chances. As long as that collar was on, she didn’t move.

Why do I tell you this ridiculously long story? ‘Cause my dog and I have something in common.

I don’t like getting shocked, either. My first response is to drop and stay until someone comes to take the collar off.

I’ve taken a few shocks in the last few weeks. My first response is to hit the deck and wait. I can’t afford that response. Not really.

I wish I could. I wish I could go back to the days of waiting for rescue, followed by hot chocolate and a good hug with a stuffed dragon. But I can’t. I have to grow up, take my shocks and keep going no matter how much it hurts.

I chose the turtle as my symbol because turtles keep going. They don’t think about what might happen. They don’t care. They just want that cherry tomato.

TT: Have you seen that YouTube video of the turtle trying to eat the cherry tomato? It’s so sad. I very much hope whoever filmed it finally squashed the tomato so the turtle could eat it.

We did figure out a collarless way to keep Sera in the yard. Rest in peace, my pearl of great price. I’ll see you on the other side.

Anyway, those are some thoughts for a Thursday.

What about you? Are you a fighter or a dropper? Have you hit a wall you couldn’t scale? A dream drizzled in battery acid? How do you respond?

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

15 comments on “Shocking

  1. Robynn,

    Awwww–I love Dalmatians! Aren’t they cute? Of course, they’re also high energy pets. My farming aunt and uncle had one once–he showed all the classic symptoms of ADHD and was never allowed in the house!

    Being a turtle is good. I hope you get over the trauma of whatever shocked you and keep on keeping on. I think of God being my shield and protector, and that whatever gets to me has to go through Him first. So He knows all about it, and is ready to deal with it, and with my emotional reaction to it. And that helps me greatly.

    • Thank you, Krysti! God is always in control. Fortunately, He’s nice about it when I demand to know why He’s doing such horrible things to me. hehe!
      And “high energy” is such a nice way to say out of control spaz. She did calm down after the first six years.

  2. I have always wanted to ask you “why a turtle?” but keep forgetting. Now I don’t have to ask. Very cool reasoning, btw.

    Well, since I haven’t given up on my goal, despite being “shocked” enough to have caused permanent brain damage, I’d say I’m not a dropper. Then again, maybe that is *because* of the brain damage? Sigh….

    Honestly, with me it’s probably just good old-fashioned stubbornness.

    • For the truly interested/bored/procrastinators, I more fully explain Ranunculus Turtle in my earliest blogspot posts titled “What’s In A Name? part 1 & 2.”

      I’m leaning toward permanent brain damage, but then, I’ve said before writers are insane…

  3. Ha! You shocked yourself? I’m laughing with you, Princess Turtle. Only someone with tremendous love for their animal would do such a thing.
    So glad you are not having mud sandwiches. They really are nasty. Momma says she is going to try to make anvil pillows. Perhaps I can convince her to make several. 😛

    • I couldn’t possibly put such a device on any animal without knowing what it would do. For those who wonder, “how could a deaf dog hear a warning beep?,” the collar had a vibrate warning option.

      I would take an anvil pillow. Blue, please. 😀

  4. Dropping isn’t always bad, though, if the pursuit siphons off too much energy. I am a constant applier, and have learned sometimes it’s best to “drop” a project if it’s preventing me from doing something better. Pruning a plant is another metaphor coming to mine. Although I love the turtle image!

    We had a rescued greyhound who we should have named “Lily” — as in the lilies of the field, that toil not, neither do they spin. She had a big soft pillow and would sleep upside down in the sun, with her paw in the air and her tongue drying out. When she ran she laughed.

  5. Greyhounds are wonderful dogs, and I got a very clear picture of her! Well done!

    Yes, you Type AAA folk puzzle me exceedingly. I’m glad you’re learning to let some things go. 🙂

  6. It occurs to me that almost last paragraph sounds like the way I kept the dog in the yard was burying her in it. It was not. Chuckle.
    We put up an electric fence, turned it on just long enough for her to get shocked by it, then turned it off. She never tried to jump the fence again, bless her heart.
    That lesson is a whole other post.

  7. My dearest sweet turtle, you made me cry…I so want to give you the hot chocolate, fluffy pillow and your dragon, so sorry, can;t remember the name,( all of her animals were named and she still has them,) but, alas, that is why you are having such a tuf time now…loving too much can be a problem..I am so sorry..see you soon. I will hug you then. I have a feeling this is God’s way of getting you to change directions.

    Mama Turtle

  8. I love dogs, even though I’ve never been blessed to have one of my own. I’ll never forget the times I was able to visit a cousin of mine with her Weimaraners. Those dogs are so funny. I’ve never been around a Dalmation except for a brief instance one time, but as a boy growing up I read the novel 101 Dalmations (much, much, different than either of the Disney movie versions) and always thought I might like one of those. Now, if I ever DO get one, I’ll be properly warned about the fence jumping. 😉

    • One Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith is one of my favorite books!
      And fence jumping was only one of her extremely bad habits. The perfect family for a Dalmatian is one to two extremely active adults with no children and no other pets who love to take their one dog with them everywhere they go.
      Needless to say, Sera was pretty bored with me. 🙂

  9. Dearest Turtle,
    Looks to me that you have a momma in your corner as well. Nice things to have, even if they aren’t as close as they once were, they will always be there.

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